Kinyanjui Defends Regional Cross Country Title
Nov. 13, 2004
Waco, Texas - Mary Kinyanjui defended her individual title and Calandra Stewart placed ninth to earn a trip to the NCAA Championships, as the TCU women's cross country team placed fourth at the South Central Region Cross Country Championships, held at the Cottonwood Creek Golf course in Waco on Saturday. The TCU men finished 14th among the 18 teams in the region, moving up one spot from a year ago.
Kinyanjui, a senior from Kiambu, Kenya who defended her Conference USA title two weeks ago, outlasted SMU's Karin van Rooyen by three seconds, posting the win in a personal best time of 20:09 over the 6K distance to van Rooyen's runnerup time of 20:12. Kinyanjui won last year's race on the same course in 20:44.
"I'm glad it's over," said an exhausted Kinyanjui following the race. "It was very tough today. We were going much faster than last year but I felt extremely strong until I finished. I really wanted to defend my title. I was really hurting, but I wanted it so bad. I was going to give it everything I had no matter what because this was my last chance to make it to nationals. I wanted to defend both my conference title and my regional title," continued Kinyanjui. "I was able to do that. Now I want to finish in the top 30 at nationals and make All-American. That's my goal. No one at TCU has done that."
Kinyanjui will be joined at the NCAA meet by sophomore teammate Calandra Stewart, who turned in a time of 20:59, earning all-region honors.
"I'm so proud of Calandra," said Kinyanjui. "I told her that this year you are Ami (Butler, who placed third at the 2003 regional meet and joined Kinyanjui at the NCAA meet). I had so much confidence in her and in our team."
SMU won the women's team title with 50 points. Arkansas also earned an automatic bid to the national meet by placing second with 61 points. Baylor was third with 81 points, followed by TCU's 124 in the 17-team women's field.
Freshmen Halie Bullin (21:34) and Cassie Hostick (21:51) were TCU's third and fourth place finishers, placing 22nd and 29th overall. Katrina Zielinski (22:50), McKale Davis (23:29) and Pattie Parker (23:53) rounded out the Horned Frog contingent on the women's side.
In the men's race, Arkansas captured the team title with 34 points, while Texas (51), Rice (65), Houston (148) and Stephen F. Austin (149) rounded out the top five. TCU tallied 417 points to place 14th.
Individually the Frogs were led by Alex Morris, who placed 69th overall with a time of 33:01 over the 10K distance, moving up 30 places while cutting nearly two minutes off his time from a year ago. J.T. Reinert was the Frogs' second finisher, breaking the tape in 33:25 to place 77th overall.
"I'm ecstatic," said TCU coach Patrick Cunniff. "The girls ran incredible. Every girl ran her fastest 6K of the year today. Mary was in a tough fight for the win and pulled it out. I'm super excited for Calandra. To see her evolve through the year and qualify for nationals is great."
Kinyanjui and Stewart will travel to Terre Haute, Indiana for the NCAA Cross Country Championships, which will be held on Monday, November 22.
"I hope it's not as cold as last year (when the national meet was held in sub-freezing temperatures in Waterloo, Iowa)," said Kinyanjui. "But if it is, I'll be ready for it."
WOMEN: 1. SMU 50; 2. Arkansas 61; 3. Baylor 81; 4. TCU 124; 5. Texas A&M 135; 6. Texas A&M Corpus Christi 211; 7. Stephen F. Austin 212; 8. Texas 221; 9. Rice 248; 10. Lamar 268; 11. LSU 280; 12. Houston 289; 13. Arkansas-Little Rock 325; 14. UT-San Antonio 376; 15. UT-Pan American 385; 16. Sam Houston State 413; 17. Arkansas State 527.
MEN: 1. Arkansas 34; 2. Texas 51; 3. Rice 65; 4. Houston 148; 5. Stephen F. Austin 149; 6. LSU 168; 7. Baylor 173; 8. Texas A&M 226; 9. Sam Houston State 253; 10. Louisiana-Lafayette 263; 11. Texas A&M Corpus Christi 346; 12. UT-Pan American 349; 13. Lamar 390; 14. TCU 417; 15. Arkansas State 424; 16. UT-San Antonio 432; 17. UT-Arlington 442; 18. Southeastern Louisiana 469.
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